Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Ladies of the Left Bank

Perhaps one of the greatest friendship phenomena I know of is that of the friendy date. Also known as the "ladydate" or "man-date," it's when two friends plan to spend a night out on the town together. You dress up, go out to a lovely place for dinner or cocktails or both, and you luxuriate in the fabulousness of your friendship. I have been on friendy dates with my bros (SW and I quite like Asiadog for our bro-moments--broments?--and BK and I have taken Empire Biscuit into our recent repertoire), and my ladies, like I did on Saturday with AS.

My friendy date sphere of thought began spinning this evening, when I reflected up on the utterly wonderful Saturday evening spent with my dear friend AS. AS and I have known each other for about eight years (ish), and she was one of the first people I swaddled into my New York life (and vice versa) upon my arrival in the city. Frightfully witty and insightful, she is one of my favorite ladies.

After making the utterly miserable mistake of trying to take a cab down the West Side Highway on a Saturday night, I arrived to meet AS at the restaurant of her choice, The Spotted Pig. She found out upon arriving first that the restaurant was known internationally for its food, which perhaps was supposed to alleviate our "Oh, fuck that" attitudes to the restaurant's two-hour wait, but it certainly did not. Instead, we wandered for a bit and, like moths to a flame, were drawn to an archway of trees set alight and sparkling with elegant white Christmas lights. Though the restaurant they surrounded was of no interest to us, we instead parked ourselves at Left Bank next door where the wait was instead 30 minutes. We figured this would be the best we'd get in the area for a place that wasn't a diner--and we did not feel like a diner that evening--so we stayed.

The very kind hostess gave us the option of sitting at the bar, though to our dismay no seats were available. We sat instead on the benches near the door, a chill swishing over us with each opening. Eventually, though, the hostess noticed some women (also on a friendy date??) leaving and gestured to us to take their seats. How kind! we thought to ourselves. Because let's be honest, in most restaurants if you can't find a seat at the bar, you can go fuck yourself and stand in the corner with your coat, no thank you very much. But she pointed out seats to us! And so we sat and enjoyed a carafe of rioja while waiting for our table. We contemplated for a moment to eat dinner at the bar, but AS said, No, let's make this a thing! We're going to a whole thing! So we did!

We shared a salad of shaved brussels sprouts with parmagiano reggiano and walnuts (I would direct you to the menu, but it changes every day!!), then I had a black fettucini (homemade pasta, by the way!) with calamari, and she the swordfish. Both were lovely dishes. We followed it with a dessert cheese plate and aperitifs (she an old-fashioned and I a Disaronno on the rocks), laughing at ourselves all the way about how we are "cleverly disguised as adults," to use AS's words. We toasted to ourselves and our friends and lovers and smiled at all the damage we did on the bill. Well, you get one life and, as my mother always tells me, you can't take it with you. One of the grand delights of a friendy date is spoiling yourself...a little bit or a lot is up to you.

Say what you will, but there is something magical that happens on friendy dates. It is the beauty of seeing exactly what you love about your friend and your friendship with them. I feel lucky in New York to experience the city with all different sorts of loved ones. Too often people get absorbed into themselves or their relationships and forget all about the people who where there first, or there when everything seemed to oil spill awful into the river of your life. It can be a challenge to see your friends sometimes, living here or anywhere: we are all very busy and important. But who doesn't love to know that they are cherished and adored? It is so nice to go out and get dolled up with a friend, no matter whether you are eating hot dogs or drinking old-fashioneds. Or both.